OBJECTIVE: To collect information on factors that affect the time period from the onset of symptoms to first contact with health care providers, whether private or government.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study using a pre-tested questionnaire was conducted among 296 newly registered smear-positive TB patients in 10 districts in Sabah. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine which risk factors were associated with patient delay (>30 days) and 'extreme' patient delay (>90 days).
RESULTS: The percentage of patients who sought treatment after 30 and 90 days was respectively 51.8% (95%CI 45.7-57.9) and 23.5% (95%CI 18.6-29.0). The strongest factors associated with patient delay and 'extreme' patient delay was when the first choice for treatment was a non-government health facility and in 30-39-year-olds. 'Extreme' patient delay was also weakly associated, among other factors, with comorbidity and livestock ownership.
CONCLUSION: Delay and extreme delay in seeking treatment were more common when the usual first treatment choice was a non-government health facility. Continuous health education on TB aimed at raising awareness and correcting misconceptions is needed, particularly among those who use non-government facilities.
DESIGN: Studies on the association between CT values and smear status were included in a descriptive systematic review. Authors of studies including smear, culture and Xpert results were asked for individual-level data, and receiver operating characteristic curves were calculated.
RESULTS: Of 918 citations, 10 were included in the descriptive systematic review. Fifteen data sets from studies potentially relevant for individual-level data meta-analysis provided individual-level data (7511 samples from 4447 patients); 1212 patients had positive Xpert results for at least one respiratory sample (1859 samples overall). ROC analysis revealed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.85 (95%CI 0.82-0.87). Cut-off CT values of 27.7 and 31.8 yielded sensitivities of 85% (95%CI 83-87) and 95% (95%CI 94-96) and specificities of 67% (95%CI 66-77) and 35% (95%CI 30-41) for smear-positive samples.
CONCLUSION: Xpert CT values and smear status were strongly associated. However, diagnostic accuracy at set cut-off CT values of 27.7 or 31.8 would not replace smear microscopy. How CT values compare with smear microscopy in predicting infectiousness remains to be seen.